Archive by Author

Memories of New Mexico~Part 1

19 Feb


Judy Wills



I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And yes, that IS one of our 50 Unites States – check out your U.S. atlas. It’s between Texas and Arizona. It’s actually a pretty large state.




The culture there is a mixture of Native American and Mexican. It’s a nice blend. Of course, growing up, it just seemed natural to me. In fact, it almost surprises me to find Native American culture in other states. I guess I thought it was just contained in New Mexico. I’m not always very bright….

In the course of writing this post, I would like to share some of my memories of New Mexico. But my thoughts may jump from one subject to another without any connection, so please bear with me. It’s going to be a fun ride for me…..

I always liked the New Mexico flag:




From Wikipedia I gleaned the following:

The yellow field and red symbol colors are the colors of Spain. First brought to New Mexico by Spanish explorers in 1540. On New Mexico’s flag we see a red sun with rays stretching out from it. There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group. This is an ancient sun symbol of a Native American people called the Zia. The Zia believed that the giver of all good gave them gifts in groups of four. These gifts are:

 The four directions – north, east, south and west.

The four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter.

The day – sunrise, noon, evening and night.

Life itself – childhood, youth, middle years and old age.

All of these are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end.

I’ve mentioned the Fiesta dresses (or Squaw dresses) please see my post on December 9, 2012 -we wore. They always remind me of New Mexico.

I had a funny “One of our 50 is Missing” episodes – please see my post of March 3, 2013 post – I don’t speak Portugese.

The mountains to the East of Albuquerque, part of the Rocky Mountain Range, were always my delight. I loved those mountains, and miss them here in Florida. Please see my post for February 15, 2015 – The Crest.




Back in my growing-up days, we didn’t have cell phones, and sometimes not even TV. My family didn’t get our first TV until I was about 15 years old. So we had to find other means of entertaining ourselves. Both before I met Fred, and after but before we married and moved away, one of our favorite things to do was to drive out to the west mesa rise, turn around and drive back into town, looking at the city lights. Especially at night, when all the lights were on. It was truly a beautiful sight.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~










12 Feb


Judy Wills



Do you like cinnamon?   Yummmm…….one of my favorite flavors. Of course, if you use too much, it can be really HOT!!! But in moderation, it’s GREAT!




When I was a child, I would go to the corner store and get a sucker – or lollipop, if that’s what you want to call it. It was about 1″ square, nearly clear, on a “stick” and I would fill my mouth with that delicious taste. It would take me quite a while to work my way through that sucker. It was wonderful!




Remember those little “red-hot” candies? Those have a wonderful cinnamon flavor, as well. I’m sure the sucker and the candies are nothing but sugar, sugar, sugar – with a little bit of cinnamon added for taste. That’s okay…..I like it anyway!




I don’t remember how I discovered this, but I would go to the corner drugstore and get a small vial of cinnamon oil. I would fill it as full as I could with toothpicks – you know, the pointy ones – and let them soak for several days. Then I would take out one and suck-or-chew on that toothpick until it was nothing but slivers, soaking up all that wonderful cinnamon flavor. Yummmmm.


Long about Halloween time – in this case probably August or September, whenever stores put up their Halloween stuff – you can go into grocery stores or some restaurants (Cracker Barrel springs to mind), and smell those wonderful cinnamon brooms. I’ve always wanted to get one, but I understand the cinnamon oil leaves quite a stain. So I just enjoy the cinnamon smell when we go into Publix or Cracker Barrel.   Yummmm…

Something Fred and I have taken to doing, is sprinkling cinnamon on our breakfast cereal. Not only does it add great taste to the cereal, but we’ve found that cinnamon is good for our health! No, really!

Researchers have concluded that the health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities. (Credit Google search and Dr. Axe)

Yet another way we use it, is to add it to our breakfast smoothie. We don’t really taste it, along with all the other tastes in there (blueberries, banana, walnuts, protein powder, flax seed meal, natural peanut butter, baby spinach, almond milk, stevia), but we feel good, knowing that cinnamon is in there.




One of the articles I read even said that the Egyptians used it as an embalming spice. Wow! Didn’t know that!

So many uses for cinnamon, but if for nothing more than it’s taste – I would use it! Give it a try…you might like it.












What’s in a Name

5 Feb


Judy Wills

Have you ever considered your name? I mean, really thought about your name…why you were given the name you have…if you were named after someone…if so, who and why? And do you think that you were only given a middle name so you would know when you were in trouble?

In olden times, names were given to a child, and that child was expected to “live up” to the meaning of that name.

Perhaps because I’m older now, but I wonder about things like that. I remember asking my in-laws to give me their childhood memories. My Father-in-law started in with the statement “Don’t you know that within five generations you have a million people? There’s no way I can give you that!”

When I explained that I didn’t want those millions – I only wanted his memories, and my Mother-in-law’s memories, and he said, “Oh!” And that’s how the memories book came to be. They were true to their word and we have some wonderful memories about themselves, that would have been lost if I hadn’t insisted.




Within that memories book, are the stories of how their four children were named. When my husband was born, Fred’s mother wrote: We took a long time deciding on his name, but we finally decided to name him for his two grandfathers. They both had the name Charles, so we took the Charles from the Wills side and Frederic from my side (Dad Wills had an initial only for his second name! His parents could not agree on Henry or Harry so named him Charles H. Wills!)




And because both Grandfathers as well as Fred’s Dad were named Charles, they called him Fred. So he is Fred today – except for the military. They insist on “First name, Middle initial, Last name.” No exceptions. It was sometimes difficult, since both of their names were Charles F. Wills.

I do know that Fred’s middle sister is somewhat named after Fred’s mother. She was Charlotte Emily, and Fred’s sister is Emily Ann.




Within Dad’s memories, he told of how they named the twins, when they were born. He wrote: ……made a friend in the person of the Company Commander of Company L, a First Lieutenant Earl S. Eaves…… He became a life-long friend: our twins, Larry and Sally, are named after him and his wife, Sally. We gave his name Earl to Larry as his middle name.




Fred’s Mother told me once that there was actually a fourth daughter born in her family, Lillian Elspeth. But she only lived to be two years old, and then died of spinal meningitis. Sally was named Sally Elspeth. When I told Sally about this, she was surprised, as her Mother had never told her that story.

On my side of this family, my maternal Grandmother was Addie Mae.




She named her first daughter Jessie Mae.




My Mother was named Agnes Anita,




and they named me Judith Anita.




I also remember my Aunt Jessie telling me that sometimes, when Granny was upset with either of them, she would get exasperated and yell “Jagnes!!” They weren’t sure just who Granny was upset with, but they both knew they were in trouble!

My father was one of 13 children, and they named him William Jacob.




When my brother was born, they named him after my father, version 2.




When my brother’s son was born, they named him William David (David after my sister-in-law’s brother).




All-in-all, we decided that, if we had sons, there would be NO Charleses and NO Williams! There had been enough of both in our families. But we only had daughters, so there was no problem!

So…..what’s in YOUR name?



The Gurgle Pot

29 Jan


Judy Wills


Some years ago, Fred’s youngest sister gave us a most unusual gift – a Gurgle Pot. Never heard of it? Neither had we, so let me tell you about this neat item.

It is a water pot for your table. It is shaped like a fish. It makes a delightfully amusing “gurgling” sound as you pour. According to the information card that came with the Pot, the designer, Matt Ellison tells us how it all got started:

“Years ago, I attended my brother’s wedding in a small village in Southern France. Since there were no hotels in town, all guests were matched with French hosts. My hosts spoke no English and I spoke no French which made dinner conversation a challenge. Long stretches of awkward silences were compounded by the fact that French dinners can last 3-4 hours. There was, however, one saving grace…a fish shaped water pitcher that “gurgled.” I found myself drinking more water than wine so I could fill the silent room with “gurgling” and unite the table with smiles.”

“Inspired by the lighthearted affect of the gurgling sound, I returned home and began sculpting my own version. Ten years, two kids, 15 molds and one typhoon off the coast of China later, I can finally share the GurglePot™ with you. I’m confident it will create similar smiles around your dining table in years to come.

Pour, Listen, Enjoy!”

So there you have it – the Gurgle Pot in all it’s glory. It really is a fun thing to have on your table. It is definitely a conversation-starter. If you care to go online to see all the different colors it comes in, just type in “gurgle pot” in your browser and see them all.

Fred’s sister gave us one in what might be called earth-tones or clay-flower-pot, but most websites call it “red.” It is produced in a rainbow of colors.




We thoroughly enjoy our very own GurglePot™ – and you might, as well.

Amazon has a large selection of GurglePots  large and small.



























The Reunion

22 Jan


Judy Wills


Have you ever been to a family reunion? Ever heard of families having a reunion? My family has never really had one. Our little family gets together quite often, and so we don’t consider it a “reunion” as such. My father was one of 13 children, but most of them lived close to each other, and there wasn’t any need for a reunion.

But there are other kinds of reunions. Fred and I attended one just this week. In August of 2015, I had a total knee replacement at Celebration Health in Kissimmee, Florida.




I was in the hospital for four days, under the care of the nurses there. While there, they told me about the “Joint Replacement Reunion” that the hospital sponsors each year. Now that I am included in the “joint replacement” crowd, I am always and will be forever eligible to participate in the annual reunion. Included in the reunion are those with knee, hip, shoulder replacement, and any other “joint” that has been replaced.




Our first reunion was in January 2016. We were eager to experience this – but turns out that a MAJOR storm was passing through! Everything was under the tent – and the wind and rain blew so hard at times that we were afraid the tent would blow down! Fortunately, it didn’t. The advertised event was to be held rain or shine.




One of the “events” is a walk around part of the hospital complex. That didn’t happen last year! But this year, it did. It was a nice walk, and some of the sports orthopedic doctors were in attendance with those of us walking. Nice to converse with them along the way.

Last year, since the walk didn’t happen, some of the nurses set the music, and got a “conga-line” going. Quite a few of the reunion participants joined in that dance. It was fun to watch. My new knee was only five months old, and I wasn’t up to that.

There were people running around, helping out, that had on dark blue t-shirts that proclaimed the reunion. I was amused to see the back of the shirts, and asked one lady if I could take a picture of it. Here it is. Cute, huh?




After the walk, a meal was served. Last year, we were pleased to see that the hospital had the meal catered by 4Rivers Smokehouse – one of our favorite bbq places!! And they catered it again this year. Yay!



Credit Google search and Adam J.V.


We thought 4Rivers was just a local Mom-n-Pop place that had expanded a bit (there is now one near us in Kissimmee). But to my surprise, I found online that there are 14 restaurants, with one coming to Atlanta later this year. The rest are in Florida.

Here is a short tidbit from their website:


Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden

Here are a few pictures of this year’s event:




Debra – one of my favorite nurses manning a registration table



The big tent



The starting line for the walk

Tied up in Knots

15 Jan


Judy Wills


In previous musings, I’ve mentioned that I really enjoy crocheting. My favorite thing to crochet is an afghan, in shell stitch. I use big, thick yarn, and a large hook. It goes quite fast, and I like the way it looks.

I have tried knitting – even took lessons at one time – but I could never get anything to fit! Even after making a sample swatch, when the product was finished – it just didn’t fit. It was either too big or too small. Every time. So I gave up on knitting.

And then there was another “phase” that came through – macramé. I never really tried my hand at it, but did enjoy some of the items that my friends made from that. Along about Thanksgiving time, I did a post on the macramé pilgrim that hangs on our front door. He’s rather adorable.




A former sister-in-law made a large purse for me, out of black macramé yarn. I carried it all around Europe on our 3-year-tour there, and really enjoyed it.

My best friend’s husband was in the U.S. Navy for a while, and learned to tie all those knots – and the names for them. When she told him she would like a plant hanger, he got to work and actually made her a lovely, hanging “table” – made with those “knots” – where she could put her plants, and hung it from the ceiling in their family room. I was so envious!! It was gorgeous!!

Okay, all that to say that I am not very savvy about knots. I do know that to make a really secure knot, you must make a “square” knot – and I’ve learned how to do that.




I know about “slip knots” that I use in my crocheting. So I know a little bit about knots.

I can’t remember just where I first saw a cleat with a rope wrapped around it, so that the boat would be anchored at the dock. But somewhere I saw it once, and it caught my fancy. I thought it was a rather interesting way of wrapping a rope – in a figure-eight, but it would definitely make it secure to the dock.



Credit Google search


Remember now – I am NOT a boat person! So why this caught my eye, I don’t know. However, it stuck in my mind. Some time later, I was visiting a good friend and her family, and they decided it was a nice time to take their boat out for a spin. When we docked, she handed me the rope and told me to tie it around the cleat as best I could. The memory of the way it was wrapped popped into my mind, and I just wrapped it as I remembered seeing it. When my friend’s husband went to untie the rope, he stopped and nearly shouted – “WHO TIED THIS ROPE?” I thought to myself, “I am in deep trouble now!” I meekly said, “I did.” He looked at me and said, “where did you learn to do this?” He nearly flipped out when I told him I had just seen it….once. He sputtered, “ONCE??…YOU SAW IT ONCE…and you can tie it like this?   I’ve been trying to teach Lynn to do this ever since we purchased the boat!” That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself! I had learned something about “knots” just by observing it done once.

Sometimes this old brain really DOES retain important “stuff!”

Our Nation’s Capital

8 Jan


Judy Wills


 Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C.? If not, then put it in your bucket list, as it is somewhere you don’t want to miss.



By Carol M. Highsmith via Wikimedia


There is a different “air” in the air there. It’s just…..different. I find it difficult to describe the difference, exactly, but the whole atmosphere of D.C. is different from any other city we have visited. Is it just because it’s our nation’s capitol? Perhaps. It’s just…different!

We, as a family, have visited D.C. many times – especially when we lived in Virginia. It was only about a three-hour drive from our house to our nation’s capitol. We usually stayed in a hotel outside the city proper, parked the car, and rode public transportation. It seems like we were there either in blistering heat or freezing cold!

There are so many things to see and do there. The museums are magnificent. The history of this great country is portrayed for everyone to see.



But one of the most impressive, and awe-inspiring, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. While that is not the official name of it, that is the “common” name for it. There are remains placed there from World War 1 through the Vietnam conflict. Amazing to see.





We had heard so much about the annual cherry-blossom festival there, but never, in the nearly 13 years we lived in Virginia, made it up for that event. And so, in April of 2013, Fred and I made the trip to D.C. just to see the cherry blossoms. It was spectacular! Some pink, some white, just gorgeous! And those little blossoms were just everywhere. One time, as we walked along the Mall, there was enough breeze blowing to make the blossoms shed from the trees – and it looked like a snow storm! Such fun!



But this place is at the heart of our country. This is everyone’s “home town.” We all belong there. Of course, I really wouldn’t want to actually LIVE there, but it’s a great place to visit.

Our daughter, Janet, and her family made a trip to D.C. a few years ago, and brought us back a professional photo of the U.S. Capitol building. Here’s a copy of it.




I think it’s one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen! The photographer really had a good eye – and a steady hand! – to get this photo just right. We have framed it, and it hangs proudly on our wall where we can see it just any time we care to look at it.

In the not-too-distant future, there will be great celebration in that great place – the inauguration of a new United States President. Oh, to be able to see that in person! But we’ll just have to watch it on TV. I’m not going up there again in the freezing weather!! That’s why we live in Florida!


In the Fullness of Time

1 Jan


Judy Wills



I know that Christmas 2016 is over. However, I wanted to share something a pastor friend sent to us as a Christmas card. It touched both Fred and me greatly, and I hope it will touch your heart, as well. (As way of acknowledgement, I’ve searched and not found this particular paraphrasing of these verses anywhere. It could have been his own version of it) It’s the best way to begin a New Year:

Galatians 4:4-5

4 – But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 – To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

As we begin the month of December, our thoughts are about Christmas. There is a phrase in Galatians 4:4. This phrase is a powerful statement about the coming of God’s Son to earth. The phrase in the fullness of the time (Galatians 4:4) refers to that time when the world was providentially ready for the birth of the Savior.

It was the RIGHT TIME for JESUS to come. Historians tell us that in the Roman world the old religions were dying, the old philosophies were empty and powerless to change men’s lives. Strange new mystery religions were invading the empire. Religious bankruptcy and spiritual hunger were everywhere. God was preparing the world for the arrival of His Son.

Roads connected city with city, and all cities ultimately with Rome. Roman laws protected the rights of citizens, and Roman guards protected the peace – THE ROMAN PAX.



The Roman Empire, A.D. 117 – Credit Google Search


Thanks to both the Greek and Roman conquests, Latin and Greek were known across the empire. He sent His Son to THE RIGHT PEOPLE. It was no accident that God chose Abraham to be the father of His people! God promised Abraham a nation to come from his seed (Genesis 12:1-3)

Jesus was born in THE RIGHT LAND. It was no accident that Abraham left Ur (modern day Iraq) and journeyed to Canaan (present day Israel). God’s people got off-track and stuck in Egypt, and so God sent a deliverer, Moses! Then He had to get them out of Babylon and back to THE RIGHT LAND.

THE RIGHT LANGUAGE was available, and it was no accident that a man named Alexander (the Great) came 300 years before Christ, and spread the Hellenistic culture with most people knowing the Greek language and THE RIGHT CULTURE adopted by the Romans.



Alexander the Great – Credit Google Search


Finally, it was under THE RIGHT LAW. The new gospel would need to spread rapidly! By the end of the first century, the Christian gospel had spread throughout the Roman Empire, reaching all the way to Great Britain! God used the Roman Empire, as He did the Greeks, the Jews, and anyone else to make this TIME in history RIGHT!

JESUS came at the RIGHT TIME, to the RIGHT PEOPLE, in the RIGHT LAND, with the RIGHT LANGUAGE, and during the RIGHT CULTURE, and under the RIGHT LAW!

It was no accident when Jesus arrived in history, but rather God’s perfect timing in preparing our world for His coming.

It was truly in the fullness of time that God sent forth His Son.

With these words in mind, have a blessed Christmas season (and in this case – a wonderful and blessed New Year!).

Christmases Past, Present and …Future?

25 Dec


Judy Wills



Christmas, Christmas, Christ-mas….in the air… If you are ever at Walt Disney World, and EPCOT in particular in the Christmas season, stop by and hear the Voices of Liberty in the American Pavilion. The singers are dressed in Dickens-themed attire, and their songs are all Christmas, as well as a few Hanukkah songs. Totally delightful!

We have so many good memories of Christmases past. I’ve written about some in previous musings.



Christmas has always been a special time in our lives. Growing up, we usually had Christmas in our own home. Only once do I remember going to San Antonio, Texas to spend Christmas with my Grandmother and Aunt Jessie. And we were involved in a car crash approaching San Antonio! Not long after that, Granny and Aunt Jessie moved to Albuquerque.

I want share this one picture of my husband that I found.




Since he was born in February, this would probably have been his second Christmas, but he was approaching his second birthday. Did you notice the Mickey Mouse toy beside him? Wow! Do I wish we still had that toy! However, I’m sure that it went through his years, as well as his three siblings. So it might not be in very good shape by now!

After we married and began having our own Christmas celebration, we found ourselves at either one or the other in-laws’ house. That “tradition” continued even after we began our family. After our girls were a bit older, I told Fred that we needed to start staying at home and making our own family “traditions.” His initial response was that our family “tradition” was to go somewhere else! But that didn’t last long.


Since we’ve moved to Florida, our tradition has continued to be…let’s celebrate in our own home, and let the children and grands come to us. That has worked well. I believe all but about one or two of the 21 years we’ve lived here have been anywhere but here. And one of our daughters and her family will be with us again this year.



As for the future:   well, who can say? Both of our girls live in states that have tons of COLD weather, and avoiding cold weather and snow was one of the reasons we moved to Florida! It also gives our daughters and their families an opportunity to experience lovely Florida warmth at Christmas time. At least that’s our excuse!

As we all know, the future is in God’s hands…and His plan for our lives is so much better than anything we could devise for ourselves. So we will continue to share our Christmas with our girls and their families, as long as they are willing. We will continue to share the Good News of Christmas with them – that God sent His one and only Son to this earth as a baby, so that He would die on a cross for our sins, but, miraculously, by the Hand of God, be raised from the dead and grave, to give us eternal salvation.

GOD IS AMAZING!! And He is LOVE. And He is PEACE.   And He is JOY. And He is all of those things, and more, in this life, with the promise of eternal life with Him. How great is that??!!




Out in the Cold

18 Dec


Judy Wills

I was a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years while my husband, Fred, was active duty in the U.S. Air Force. I had worked in an office setting all the years before, but once our daughters started to arrive, we decided we could live on one salary – and we did.



Credit Google search


However, once Fred retired from the Air Force, jobs were difficult for him to find, so I considered dusting off my typing skills and look for a job for myself.

I thought that I would try temp work first, just to get my hand back in the work environment. So I contacted Kelly Girls (now Kelly Services) – and they essentially told me that they didn’t want me. Big blow to my ego. So the next step was Manpower. And they welcomed me with open arms.


Credit Google search

I took a typing test at their facility – and we were all amazed that I still was typing about 70+ correct words per minute!

The first office where they placed me was with the Colonial Williamsburg mail-order center. I was mainly there to file, but at least it was a job.



Credit Google Search

I found it rather interesting, and became quite impressed with the quality of product they shipped. My Aunt Jessie was an antique nut, so one time I sent her a catalog of all the furniture that CW had – but without the price list! I just wanted her to enjoy looking at all that beautiful, re-created furniture.

At that point in time, we were existing with one car, so Fred usually drove me to work and picked me up after. I went to work one morning, with a weather report of an ice storm approaching. By about 10:00 a.m., the storm hit, and all the employees were told to head home. I tried time and again to reach Fred by phone (we had no cell phones at that time in our lives), but he never answered. I had determined to wait outside the main gate until he came to get me. However, when the maintenance guy found me about the head out into the storm (in high heeled shoes and a puny coat – no raincoat or gloves or hat), he insisted that we wait inside until Fred arrived.



Credit Google Search

We waited for about 45 minutes before Fred finally called. He said he had been sitting on the “parking lot” of U.S. 17 for all that time, and was just finally able to pull off in Yorktown to call (that’s only about eight miles from our house!). So I told him to get on the Colonial Parkway and come up to Virginia Route-199.



Credit Google Search

There was a hotel there, not far from where I was working, and I would wait there for him.   That allowed the maintenance guy to lock up and head to his own home, and Fred wouldn’t have to drive all the way into Williamsburg for me.

And so we did. He dropped me off and headed home, while I went inside and got a cup of coffee. I paid $2.50 for that cup of coffee – and I don’t really like coffee!!

The next work day (two days later), I picked up a cheese tray to take to the maintenance guy as a thank-you, and for his family for waiting for him.

It’s a memory that has stayed with me. God certainly had me in His hands during that situation, and I’m grateful.


%d bloggers like this: